Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Classroom Pet-Peeve: Unpreparedness

My biggest pet-peeve is students coming to class without a pencil, or calculator, or notebook (where they keep classroom documents like in progress assignments or usernames and passwords to computer programs).  I am still looking for ways to make this a better situation, but here is what I have tried with moderate success so far.

Pencils and Calculators:  I have tried marking my pencils with colorful duct tape and keeping them in a basket along with some cheapy calculators.  Oddly enough, if I put 12 pencils in the bin, they will be gone by the end of the day.  I could refill daily and lose all of them daily.  I don't do this, I just refill maybe once or twice per marking period and when they are gone, kids need to ask each other for pencils.  The cheap calculators however, never get stolen.  I have had the same 6 four function calculators for years.  I've basically given up on the pencil battle.

I tried collecting student ids when they borrowed something, but it just turned into more work for me, which I don't need.  I have tried contacting the parents of extreme repeat offenders, offering to keep a small box of school supplies in my room just for their child.  I have tried writing student names on the pencils and they can only borrow 'their' pencil.  Again, all of these things resulted in more work for me.  So, I still don't have a good solution.

Missing paperwork for a current multi-day assignment:  I do my best to require kids to keep these documents in the room.  I have a folder for each group and have them turn in their work each day.  As an added bonus, I try to check and leave written feedback daily on the progress that has been made.  These kids benefit by getting a heads-up if they misunderstood part of an assignment before it is officially graded.

Missing usernames and passwords:  I just have worksheets or something boring for these kids to do.  And I require them to make-up the online assignment they missed too.  This has actually worked pretty well.  The students don't want to do an extra paper assignment, so they make sure they are ready for the electronic assignment.  While they are working on the extra paper assignment, they email me to ask for their login info.  After school I look it up and send it to them so they can make-up the work they missed.

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